Curious about Everything

Day: October 22, 2021

Systematic partisan lying and misinformation has done enormous damage to liberal democracies

Malcolm Turnbull, The Guardian »

Of all the endorsements, none was more significant than that of James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, who said Fox News was “a megaphone for conspiracies and falsehoods”.

We have to face the uncomfortable fact that the systematic partisan lying and misinformation from the media, both mainstream and social – what Clapper calls the “truth deficit” – has done enormous damage to liberal democracies, and none more so than the US itself. Thanks to this relentless diet of lies, a quarter of all Americans and 56% of Republicans believe Trump is the true president today.

Biden is leading a more traditional and rational administration. The friends and allies Trump had outraged around the world are breathing a sigh of relief. The US has rejoined the Paris agreement on climate change and Biden is seeking to lead the world with deeper, faster cuts to emissions.

But the same forces that amplified and enabled Trump are still at work in the US and here in Australia. In April the Murdoch press bullied the New South Wales government into reversing its decision to appoint me chairman of a committee to advise on the transition to a net zero emission economy. My “crime” was to not support the continued, unconstrained expansion of open-cut coalmining in the Hunter Valley. In the crazed, rightwing media echo chamber so influential with many Liberal and National party members, the primary qualification to advise on net zero emissions is, apparently, unqualified support for coalmining.

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Malcolm Turnbull is a former prime minister of Australia.

ISPs collect and sell a horrifying amount of sensitive consumers data

A new US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report states Internet Service Providers promise not to sell personal user data, but they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others.

Karl Bode, Vice »

The new FTC report studied the privacy practices of six unnamed broadband ISPs and their advertising arms, and found that the companies routinely collect an ocean of consumer location, browsing, and behavioral data. They then share this data with dodgy middlemen via elaborate business arrangements that often aren’t adequately disclosed to broadband consumers.

“Even though several of the ISPs promise not to sell consumers personal data, they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others and hide disclosures about such practices in fine print of their privacy policies,” the FTC report said.

The FTC also found that while many ISPs provide consumers tools allowing them to opt out of granular data collection, those tools are cumbersome to use—when they work at all.

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China disinformation campaign blames Covid on Maine lobsters

The University of Oxford found evidence that 550 coordinated pro-China Twitter accounts are pushing a new propaganda related to the origins of the pandemic.

NBCNews.com »

Zha Liyou, the Chinese consul general in Kolkata, India, tweeted an unfounded claim that Covid-19 could have been imported to China from the United States through a batch of Maine lobsters shipped to a seafood market in Wuhan in November 2019. It marks the latest in a series of theories that have been pushed by pro-China accounts since the start of the pandemic.

With some further digging, Schliebs uncovered a network of more than 550 Twitter accounts, which he shared with NBC News, spreading a nearly identical message, translated into multiple languages — including English, Spanish, French, Polish, Korean and even Latin — at similar times each day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. China Standard Time.

Some of the accounts were “unsophisticated sock puppets” with “very few or zero followers,” Schliebs said, while others appeared to be accounts that were once authentic but had been hijacked and repurposed to spread disinformation.

“Attribution is really difficult,” said Schliebs, a postdoctoral researcher of computational propaganda at Oxford’s Programme on Democracy and Technology. “But we can see there’s a coordinated effort, and that it’s a pro-Chinese narrative.”

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CBS News investigates ‘The Hippie Temptation’ (1967)

In this video CBS correspondent Harry Reasoner reports on the nature of LSD, whose users “may see a wild complexity of images, hear a multiplicity of sounds. This is called taking an acid trip.”

Sherilyn Connelly writes the originally broadcast on August 22, 1967 as the inaugural edition of the short-lived CBS News series “Who, What, Where, When, Why.”

“The hippies present a strange problem,” says Reasoner. “Our society has produced them. There they are, in rapidly increasing numbers. And yet there seem to be very few definite ideas behind the superficial glitter of their dress and behavior.” In search of the core of the hippie ideology, which seems outwardly to involve “standing apart from society by means of mutual help and love.”

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